Super Bowl 2020 Ads Rated By Ad Pros

Last night, tens of thousands of advertisers came together to nerd out on ads live on Fishbowl: the SuperFishBowl.

Sixteen CCOs and ECDs were invited to participate, including BBDO CCO and Creative Vice Chairman, Greg Hahn; The Martin Agency CCO, Karen Costello; and Droga5 London CCO, David Kolbusz.

Positive industry sentiment on overall creative

The overall sentiment on the ads was positive. The ad industry was generally impressed and happy with the spots that were created by their peers. The positive tone of ads, and moving away from the recent years’ Sadvertising trend has uplifted the community.

– “I know it’s fashionable to hate on the ads but it feels like the standard has been weirdly high this year. How are people feeling about the overall landscape?”- David Kolbusz, CCO at Droga5 London
– “I’m going to be the odd person out (and I don’t want to be a fashionable ass) but I think most of the spots are recreating old tropes. Nothing new or interesting. Is in your opinion anything that strikes you as new?” – McCann
– “Nothing new. Just a better standard over all than recent years. Baby steps, though. This year we get back to entertaining. Maybe next year we get fresh and innovative.” – David
View the thread

Super Bowl 2020 Brand Winner: Jeep

Jeep was the brand winner according to advertising professionals on Fishbowl, with its campaign starring Bill Murray. The ad was voted first place in our poll, with 41% of advertising professionals saying it was the best ad of the game. This is significant, because Jeep’s spot aired late in the game, and narrowly edged out Google’s “Loretta” spot, which was the overwhelming favorite of the first half. 

What advertising professionals had to say:

  • “I love the Jeep spot. Great use of a celebrity. Car did not feel like a force for but rather an essential part of the story. And that groundhog! Really well crafted spot.” – Karen Costello, CCO at The Martin Agency
    View the comment 
  • “Perfect celebrity use for a product whose name I can remember (JEEP!) that actually pays off the platform (every day w/ a Jeep is special & unique)! BEST AD OF THE NIGHT.” – Bryan Gaffin, Executive Creative Director, W\LDTYPE (TBWA\WorldHealth)
    View the comment 
  • “Jeep, so many great dots connected. Culture, celeb usage, timely with Groundhog Day.” – an Associate Creative Director
    View the comment 

Super Bowl 2020 Brand Loser: Planters

Planters & Mr. Peanut had the most mentions with negative sentiment on Fishbowl. Planters was definitely the talk of the industry on Fishbowl in the week before the game when it was announced the brand was going to kill off the famous Mr. Peanut brand mascot. The execution of the idea during the Big Game left a lot to be desired for the advertising industry. 

What advertising professionals had to say:

  • “What was the dolphin noises????” – a Senior Copywriter
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  • “#babynot.” – a TBWA employee
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  • “What a gimmick. I was waiting for Mr Peanut to be brought back to life and that’s exactly what they did. So predictable and disappointing.” – a Creative Director
    View the comment
  • “So he is still alive? That was a waste of a suspenseful teaser. And obviously someone was a big baby yoda fan.” – an Integer employee
    View the comment 

The C-Suite Perspective

Several Chief Creative Officers and Executive Creative joined the Super Bowl conversation on Fishbowl and shared their opinions about this year’s commercials. Here are some of the highlights:

On the Tide ad:

“It’s very hard to follow up a success like “It’s a Tide Ad”. Brilliant on so many levels. They did an admirable job on the new campaign. Somehow managed to surprise. I’m guessing they are setting up for more.”
– Greg Hahn, CCO at BBDO NY, Creative Vice Chairman at BBDO Global

View the comment

On the Google ad:
“Google- quite simply one of the best crafted stories I’ve seen. WIN for the night so far. Even my teenagers cried..”
Karen Costello, CCO at The Martin Agency
View the comment

On advertising devices:

“Seems like “the button” is back as an advertising device. Been absent for a while but coming back in force this year.“
– David Kolbusz,
CCO at Droga5 London

View the comment on Fishbowl

New Themes: Political Ads, Failing Feminism, and Multi-brand Mashups

Political Ads

This year featured a number of political ads from both Democrats and Republicans. Advertising professionals were very much opposed to this new dynamic – the industry consensus is that the Super Bowl should be free from Super Bowl ads. That said, many professional ad makers thought President Trump’s ads were effective.
View the discussion.

  • “Personally, in this political climate, NO.” – Karen Costello, CCO at The Martin Agency
  • “Political ads in the SB are totally TUMSworthy” – Emiliano González De Pietri, CCO at Grey
  • “We need a break from politics. Also, it leads to some discomfort when not everyone in the room has the same political views.” – a Copywriter
  • “I personally don’t think it’s the right time or place. This is an event where everyone can just get together to hang and watch the game. We live in an over politicized world already. Keep politics out of sports..” – a Saatchi & Saatchi employee

Failing Feminism
What happened to feminism this year? This year marked the feeling of regression. The three biggest awaited symbols for women were Olay, Secret, and the half-time show with Shakira and Jennifer Lopez. Karen Costello did a valiant job to represent women’s concerns.

  • “I wish I liked that Secret spot more. I mean- I love fighting for equality and equity. But that spot did not feel empowering. It felt oddly dismissive and glib.” – Karen Costello, CCO at The Martin Agency
    View the comment on Fishbowl
  • “I really wish the Olay hadn’t made the women so goofy that they acted like they didn’t know what they were doing and pushed the wrong button. Love the effort and cause though.” – Karen Costello, CCO at The Martin Agency
    View the comment on Fishbowl
  • “I am not a fan of that halftime show. Really… ass slapping? So tired of over sexualized crap.” – Karen Costello, CCO at The Martin Agency
    View the comment on Fishbowl

Multi-brand Mashups
Another common theme unique to this year’s Super Bowl commercials was the prevalence of ads that plugged multiple brands in one spot. Walmart partnering with movie studios and Procter & Gamble mashing a bunch of their products together in one spot (as well as with Bud Light and Pepsi in another) were the most prominent examples of this formula.
View the discussion.

    • “I think we need to give a shout out to the lawyers at Walmart for getting that licensing deal done. 😂” – Vida Cornelious, CCO at Fake Love (New York Times)
      View the comment 
    • “Too much, unless they compliment each other. Still confused as to why Bud Light and Tide are crossing over.” – a Copywriter
    • “It makes the ad feel too busy, but there’s definitely some exceptions. The Planters ad with all the ad icons at Mr. Peanut’s funeral was great, but the bud light ad with Tide made no sense. The mashup needs to make sense in theme or be a complimentary product” – a Brand Strategist
    • “Actually mashup is a good way to put it, and I think it’s too much.” – A Creative Director

Honorable Mention: Google Loretta

Google’s spot was the overwhelming favorite of the first half. In our poll that asked advertising professionals to say which brand had the best spot before half-time, Google had 44% of the vote. The spot narrowly lost to Jeep for best ad of the night. 

What advertising professionals had to say:

  • “Google- quite simply one of the best crafted stories I’ve seen. WIN for the night so far. Even my teenagers cried..” – Karen Costello, CCO at The Martin Agency
    View the comment
  • “If you weren’t crying already… Google’s “Loretta” ad is the real story of an actual employee’s grandfather and his late wife – who also narrates the commercial. Well done, Google (+Agency partner).” – a Havas employee
    View the comment 
  • Google making tech feel human. Most connected ad of the night by far. 👏 – Jeremy Jones, Executive Creative Director at WundermanThompson
    View the comment

Dishonorable Mention: Amazon Alexa

The advertising community started sharing their excitement about Amazon’s Alexa ad starring Ellen De Generes and Portia De Rossi; however, as soon as the ad community started pointing out the lack of diversity of the cast, the tides quickly turned and the spot concluded with heavy criticism and the second most mentions with negative sentiment.

What advertising professionals had to say:

  • “Well I would say given the subject matter (telling someone what to do) coupled with the historical view, that might have gone terribly “left” in the wrong hands.🤷🏽‍♀️” – Vida Cornelious, CCO at Fake Love (New York Times)
    View the comment
  • “Dozens of bodies in the Alexa ad and only one was a person of color…” – A Supervisor 
    View the comment
  • “Alexa, look up the word “diversity” – A Publicis employee
    View the comment

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